All posts by rachelrosewood

It’s Time to Stop Plastic Waste.

The pollution of plastics is a growing concern.

Laura Parker states the following facts in this article “The world’s plastic pollution crisis explained” published in National Geographic:

The manufacturing of half of all the world’s plastics has occurred within the last 15 years. From the years 1950 to 2015, the production of plastics has increased by 445 million tons. This production is expected to DOUBLE in amount by 2050. Parker claims, “That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.” Additives added to make the plastics product more flexible and durable also extend the life of the products, taking at least 400 years to break down.

Parker states that 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the ocean each year.

Plastic pollution is harmful and deadly to marine life.

Due to plastic pollution, millions of animals are killed every year. The animals effected are: seabirds, fish, marine turtles, large cetaceans, seals, whales, and even zooplankton.

Ingestion of plastics, entanglement, and strangulation by plastics are common ways marine animals suffer and/or die from the pollution.

“Marine Debris on Kure Atoll” by USFWS Pacific is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Solution

Scientists and conservationists state the solution of plastic pollution is to PREVENT plastic waste from entering rivers and seas in the first place. Laura Parker continues in the National Geographic article that prevention “could be accomplished with improved waste management systems and recycling, better product design that takes into account the short life of disposable packaging, and reduction in the manufacturing of unnecessary single-use plastics”. In Britannica, Charles Moore offers another preventative solution in the article “Plastic Pollution” which involves prohibitive measures such as fines for littering and bans on single-use plastics. Moore advocates for the increase of biodegradable plastics and the embracing of a “zero waste” philosophy.

It’s Time to Demand the End of Plastic Pollution

The environmental organization of Green Peace is declaring that major corporations must take responsibility for the solution. Major corporations must not exceed its current plastic waste production, set reduction target dates, and invest in reusable systems.

Green Peace is a leader in the Reuse Revolution, and it is time for us to join them.

Image from breakfreefromplastic.org

Add your name to the “Break Free From Plastic” campaign to help stop plastic pollution.

Sign the petition now.

https://www.britannica.com/science/plastic-pollution

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/plastic-pollution

Technology Is Making Us Dumber.

Sure, there are plenty of examples of how technology has made life easier, more convenient, and has proven to be helpful, but has it made us smarter? I would like to argue that technology has, in fact, NOT made us smarter but the opposite.

Technology has made life too easy, too convenient, and too helpful. Yes, it helps us navigate unfamiliar streets, find that perfect cookie recipe, diagnose ourselves (often inaccurately) online, and it got us to the moon, but what effect has it had on us cognitively, physically, and psychologically?

The article “What is Brain Plasticity and Why is it so Important?” from the news organization called The Conversation talks about Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – which is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself. The article describes why neuroplasticity is important to the development of the brain, but the takeaway for the sake of this blog is – your brain is a muscle. Like our physical muscles, the motto “use it or lose it” applies.

For example, since our brain has the ability to rewire, we are losing that self-navigational ability. Raise your hand if you’ve consistently used the GPS to get to the same location.

Due to the over-use of technology, it has caused us to reduce physical activity (leading to obesity and related health issues), to have poorer posture (which can lead to musculoskeletal issues), sleep problems, and eye strain.

Jon Johnson wrote in his article published by the newsletter Medical News Today, “Negative Effects of Technology: What to Know”, that technology can lead to isolation. He wrote “A 2017 study in young adults aged 19–32 years found that people with higher social media use were more than three times as likely to feel socially isolated than those who did not use social media as often.”

“Smart phone depression 2” by Mirøslav Hristøff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The convenience of technology has made us over-reliant on its use. In some cases, this has turned into an addiction. The use of technology can be addicting. It can be distracting. It can make us less productive. We retain less information. It affects our concentration. It has a negative impact on our social skills. It intrudes upon classroom learning.

Considering these factors, we can conclude that although technology can be useful, it is making us dumber.

https://theconversation.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-and-why-is-it-so-important-55967

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology

Obesity is a Growing and Troubling Health Concern in Children.

According to CDC, about 1 in 5 American children has obesity. Children who are overweight or obese are prone to higher health risks.

Causes of Obesity in Children
There are many causes and risk factors leading to childhood obesity, including a poor diet, lack of exercise, genetics, socioeconomics, environmental and psychological factors.

The Health Risks of Childhood Obesity
Children with obesity are more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, joint problems, heartburn, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
There are future health risks associated with obesity that become more severe as the child ages, such as cardiovascular disease, coronary health disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, body pain, and a number of cancers.

Prevention and Treatment of Children with Obesity
The ideal way to treat childhood obesity starts with prevention. The school environment and your local community can contribute to a child’s weight, but the source of prevention and treatment begins in a child’s home.

“Big Kid Lunch #465” by Wendy Copley is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There are many ways to help prevent and treat childhood obesity in the home. The first factor is offering a healthy diet by preparing healthy meals, keeping healthy snacks available, limiting sweetened drinks, and providing non-food rewards. The healthiest lifestyle requires children to eat a healthy diet and to receive daily physical activity.
Many studies show that at least 60 minutes of moderate activity or 20 minutes of more intense physical activity is important for children. Find activities that your child enjoys, whether sports, exercise, hiking, playing at the park, climbing, dancing, etc.

For a child accustomed to a more sedentary life, start with slow activity such as walking. The Mayo Clinic says physical activity is a critical part of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It burns calories, strengthens bones and muscles, and helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during the day.

“Jumping Rope” by LongitudeLatitude is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another way to promote activity in a child and move away from a sedentary lifestyle would be to limit screen time on TV, laptops, smartphones, and gaming devices. The Mayo Clinic states screen time should be limited to no more than two hours a day for children older than two years old, and children under that age should have no screen time at all.

An important way to motivate your child and to create realistic goals is by modeling a healthy lifestyle. Serve healthy portions of food, be active with your child, and limit your own screen time.

If your child’s weight cannot be controlled beyond regular diet and exercise, there are other options. The Optimal Wellness for Life (OWL) program recommends a low-glycemic diet. Visit their site for more information.

You Should Have an Active Part in Your Child’s Health

Parents have a role like no one else in their child’s life, and that is in the control they have over what their child puts in their body. The microwave and fast-food culture is killing children and it is time for you to stand up and decide to bring nutritional meals into the home. It is up to you, as the parent, to establish a healthy lifestyle in your child that will follow them into adulthood and reduce their risk for health complications due to being overweight or obese. Set your child up for success in their eating and activity habits.

Bring your child to wellness checkups with their doctor at least once a year to identify whether your child is at risk.

https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20354827

https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/c/childhood-obesity

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, that’s a matter of opinion.

Lisa Hill states in her article “Breakfast: Is it the Most Important Meal?”, published in WebMD, that breakfast kick starts your metabolism, which helps you to burn calories throughout the day. She also says that breakfast provides the fuel and energy needed to sustain you through the day. In her article, Hill says that those who eat breakfast usually are thinner than those who don’t.

Sure, starting the day with breakfast may help you focus more during the day if you eat a healthy and balanced meal. Sending your kids to school after eating a doughnut, a bowl of sugary cereal, or Pop-Tarts® will only contribute to making them tired. Eating too much for breakfast could make you feel tired as well. Having an unhealthy breakfast or eating too much will add to a person’s weight.

Eating a small breakfast or skipping breakfast will help reduce a person’s caloric intake for the day. A person who skips breakfast could be considered someone who is practicing intermittent fasting. There are many studies to show that intermittent fasting is important to weight loss.

I prefer to have a tiny breakfast, a small lunch, a tiny snack, and then a hearty dinner. Dinner is typically when people are more mindful of what they eat. I think DINNER is the most important meal of the day, if eaten at least a couple hours before bedtime.

Usually, I start the day with a half of a bagel and a cup of coffee and this fuels me until lunch. Lunch (usually dinner leftovers) is what fuels me until dinner. Eating a good meal usually relaxes me, helps my body to relax, and can make me a little sleepy, which does nothing to boost my productivity after breakfast or lunch.

It may be an unpopular opinion, but I do not agree with Lisa Hill. Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, but is the least important.

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/breakfast-lose-weight

Why You Should Become an Organ Donor.

The thought of what happens to your body after you die can be a difficult thing to consider, but now is the time to decide whether to become an organ donor. According to Organdonor.gov, as of 2021, there were 107,000 patients in the U.S. on the national transplant waiting list and every nine minutes another person is added to the list.
The unfortunate situation is there are more people on the list than available organs. The Mayo Clinic estimates that about 20 patients die each day due to the lack of donor organs. By becoming an organ donor, you could save or improve lives. The Mayo Clinic also states one donor could help as many as 75 lives.
It’s time to consider yourself a potential organ, eye, and tissue donor. In most cases, your age, ethnicity, or health do not matter. Having a preexisting condition does not disqualify you from being a donor, medical professionals are able to identify other healthy organs to harvest for donation.
Donating your organs can be a final act of generosity as you can help and save the lives of others. You can register as an organ donor with your state’s donor registry, which you can locate on Organdonor.gov. Another option to register is by indicating yourself as a donor when you obtain or renew your driver’s license. You can also tell your loved ones, or those who are designated to make medical decisions on your behalf, that you have decided to become an organ donor and they need to make the preparations at the time of your death.
Organdonor.gov states you could even become a donor now while you are alive. You could make a kidney, liver lobe, lung, pancreas, intestinal, skin, bone, bone marrow, and blood donations as a living donator.
The topic of what happens to your body after you die should not be one you avoid. Make the decision now and save a life or many lives. It is a mindful and noble thing to do.

#StopPolyMet – What you need to know.

PolyMet Mining is actively pursuing a mining project in northern Minnesota.

This is a mining company that is proposing a copper-sulfide mine that could destroy precious ecosystems and forests, and pollute land and water. This proposal includes 6700-acres of Superior National Forest land exchanged with US Forest Service. In this exchange of land, we can expect to see protections removed from the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Because of its toxic runoff waste, copper-sulfide mining has never occurred without polluting ground and land water.

What are the nearby water masses this project poses a danger to? The proposed site for this mine is only 12 miles from Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. It will be built near the water of the St Louis River, which feeds into Lake Superior. It will pollute the surrounding marsh and wetlands, including the wild rice fields located downstream from the project.

This Polymet Mining project is dangerous.

PolyMet is also proposing a dam to hold reactive mine waste, and according to Friends of the Boundary Water Wilderness, they are using same design by the Brazilian engineer whose project in Brazil had failed and collapsed killing 200 people.

What can we do to protect Minnesota’s valuable land and water environments? The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness could use your support in pushing a “Prove It First” bill through the Minnesota legislature. In order for this PolyMet Mining copper-sulfide mine to be approved for construction in Minnesota, this bill requires proof that a similar mine has operated for at least ten ye  ars and has been closed for at least ten years without causing pollution.

Support the “Prove It First” bill now.

Are you concerned about this project being built in Minnesota and the harm it could cause our natural environment? How can you support Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in this cause? Sign the petition now for the “Prove It First” bill!

https://www.friends-bwca.org/get-involved/take-legislative-action/sign-the-petition/